Thursday, December 06, 2007

December First Friday 2007..

December is officially here with its short days, icy sidewalks and freezing cold temperatures. What better way to honor the weekend but by meandering down the wind corridor better known as Penn Avenue for this month's Unblurred? Y'know, I have to be honest with you- I wasn't very impressed by the November offerings, despite my intial anticipation. I guess it's inevitable that (occasionally) I will remain unmoved by the displays of certain local artists. It wasn't as if I thought everything was terrible, but rather that I didn't see anything that I'm likely to remember. I did hear from a few friends that they enjoyed some of it, so it could be that it was simply a matter of personal taste. Anyway it was hardly a waste of my time. Even a bad Unblurrred is preferable to Happy Hour with the 'weekend warriors'.

I know for a fact that I'm going to enjoy at least one spot this go 'round. Modern Formations is featuring Jairan Sadeghi. She won the Grand Prize in the gallery's annually-juried 'Spring Salon'. I saw that show, and voted for her work over all others. Then I caught a wall of her stuff at La Vie in Larryville. She has a graphic illustrative sensibility, and is one among a number of my favorite local artists who have managed to conceive and depict visual worlds that are both compelling and idiosyncratic. If you like modern surrealism and/or art comix, then I'm sure you'll enjoy Sadeghi's stuff. Props go out to the proprietors , who have helped introduce us to a number of excellent young artists.

I've also been previously exposed to the kabbalistic mandala paintings of Juliana Morris. Her work is part of a group show at Garfield Artworks. If you are frustrated with the disproportionate success of local artists who paint corporate logos for bad television sitcoms, Juliana's pieces will be refreshing. She gives viewers a chance to quietly reflect on a deeper spiritualism that is often absent in the pop-culture-infested wasteland we call home. C'mon and get quiet!

Aside from the above, I'm sure you will find plenty of other spots that compel you to stop in and consume free alcohol. The fine women at Metamorphose are promising to have hot chocolate on hand. The Clay Penn and Most Wanted Fine Art are rolling out holiday group shows. Carolyn Wenning's SPACE will be open as well. And if all of that isn't enough to call you out into the cold, I want to mention that Todd Pinkham is showing 'tarp paintings' at the new International Children's Art Gallery at 5020 Penn Avenue. Todd was included in a Carnival-themed show I curated awhile ago, and I think the kids will find his melange of pop iconography and free-form 'street' paint-strokes fulfilling.

And then comes Saturday! The art-appreciation fun continues at Digging Pitt on Butler Street (Lawrenceville). They are offering a reception for the first of two Pittsburgh portions of The Blogger Show (which began in earnest in November in Manhattan). Both of their galleries will be featuring work by artists throughout the US that write art-related blogs. The final opening reception for The Blogger Show happens at Panza Gallery in Millvale next Saturday (Dec. 15th). Meanwhile the Zombo Gallery on Hatfield St. is showcasing the work of local photographer Corey LaChat. He's known around these parts for showing large fuzzily color-saturated portraits of plastic toys. If you haven't been to Zombo's yet, then you are missing out on the 'lowbrow' capital of the 'Burgh.

Finally La Vie (36th and Butler) is having a Holiday-themed group show (A Few of Our Favorite Things), featuring the work of many outstanding painters and photographers that have appeared on their walls throughout the last year- including (but not limited to) Renee Ickes, Dallah Cesen, Eric Stern, Elina Malkin, Thommy Conroy, Mike Budai, Jairan Sadeghi, Jae Ruberto, Edgar Um, and Katherine Young. In addition, I'd like to announce that I will be showing a piece during this exhibition at La Vie for the first time. It's one of my favorite photos, and it's never been displayed before. The distinguishing trait of AFOOFT is that (unlike at most opening receptions) if you find something you like, you can purchase it and pull it right off the wall. Come out and purchase some (reasonably-priced and hip) art for the holidays!

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Anonymous marc said...

hey! A photo at La that you consider one of your favorite's and one I haven't seen.. I'm there!

1:20 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Great Marc, I'll see you there.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Juliana said...

thanks for the plug. i clicked on the Blogger show link to your blog to check it out. i saw you come in the gallery and leave shortly thereafter...
i was in conversation and wanted to say hello,
get your insights, always interesting, but alas you

9:45 PM  
Blogger Juliana said...

oh, and p.s., the juxtaposition of the "pop" art
references, tv shows, corporate...was that a coincidence?...but thanks for the mention of my name on your blog!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


I was pleased to see that you painted (or had someone else paint) the gallery. That was long overdue. Unfortunately, the smell was quite strong and kept me from hanging around to say "hi". Nice show. It seemed a lot more tonally sedate than your usual (unlike much of what I've seen posted on your blog).

PS: Is there any such thing as a "coincidence"?

5:54 PM  

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